BOOSTING productivity and making sure workers have the right skills is the only way York’s low wage, high housing cost economy will be rebalanced, the Chancellor has said.
Philip Hammond met business leaders at York-based web firm Netsells this morning, and said his party had overseen job growth around the country - even though York is facing specific challenges like job losses at Nestle and the barracks’ sites.
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Improving the job market is now a priority for the Yorkshire economy, he added.
“There are record number of jobs, and the focus has now moved on to getting those jobs up the value scale,” Mr Hammond said.
To do that the country needs investment in infrastructure – be in digital, roads or railways – and better skills.
The Chancellor added: “The only real sustainable way to drive higher wages and higher living standards in this country is by improving our productivity. That’s the only long term way to enjoy higher living standards and higher wages. We are committed to investing in higher productivity- at the level of individuals that means investing in their skills – the higher skills the higher wages.”
Better technical education – new T- Levels announced in the Spring Budget – are part of that push, he added.
Web firm Netsells hosted the visit this morning, and the firm's managing director Brannan Coady said his company had moved to York from Scarborough specifically to recruit the high-skilled staff it relies on.
Even now it still struggles to retain high-quality staff with people often attracted to big Leeds- based firms who can pay higher wages, he added.
The company builds website and web platforms for “shared economy” sites like Uber, and Mr Coady said pledges from several parties roll out high-speed fibre broadband all over the country would be a big boost for his industry, but they were still worried about the future outside the EU.
“The biggest worry is just how hard this hard Brexit is going to be. We currently have five staff from Europe who relocated to York just to work at Netsells and we want to make sure their right to be here and work here is protected.”
A reduction in National Insurance payments and corporation tax would help his business pay staff higher wages, Mr Coady added, and small technology businesses like his need the flat rate VAT scheme extended to help them invest and grow.